11. Efficient and final causes



  1. The efficient cause

   Things have been made by someone or something, i.e., things do not come out of the blue. For instance, a hybrid car is moved by petrol or diesel and electricity, and has been produced by someone: engineers and workers of a factory. This something or someone that produces things is the efficient cause.


   The efficient cause converts into actual what was previously potential. It makes something to change from potentiality to actuality. For instance: the wood of a tree is potentially a table. Carpenter takes the wood and makes the table. Carpenter is the efficient cause. Another example: a watchmaker (efficient cause) can take the small wheels and pieces of a watch and after putting them in order, assemble it.

  A. Choose the right letter: a, b, c. (If the letter turns into red the answer is correct)

  1. Things are made by:

    a. the efficient cause
    b. the material cause
    c. the formal cause

  2. What kind of causes are Engineers and workers?

    a. material
    b. final
    c. efficient

 3. The efficient cause converts the potential into:

    a. causal
    b. actual
    c. accidental

 4. What kind of cause converts the potential into actual?

    a. final
    b. material
    c. efficient

 5. Carpenter makes a table. What kind of cause is wood?

    a. material
    b. formal
    c. efficient

 6. The watchmaker makes a clock. The clock is:

    a. the efficient cause
    b. the formal cause
    c. the final cause




  2. The exemplary and instrumental causes

   The efficient cause acts regulated by a previous project or idea from the agent. For example: carpenter (efficient cause) has in his mind a chair model (exemplary cause) to make the chair (formal cause or effect) afterward.

 Together with the efficient cause we can distinguish the instrumental cause, i.e., the means or instruments used to act. For instance: sculptor (efficient cause) pick up chisel and hammer (instrumental cause) to make the sculpture (effect or formal cause).

  B. Choose the rigth letter: a, b, c.

  1. What kind of cause is the previous project?

    a. material
    b. exemplary
    c. instrumental

  2. The carpenter makes a chair. What kind of cause is he?

    a. efficient
    b. exemplary
    c. material

 3. The carpenter makes a chair. What kind of cause is it?

    a. final cause
    b. material cause
    c. formal cause or effect

 4. What kind of cause is the model of the chair?

    a. exemplary
    b. material
    c. formal

 5. What kind of cause are the means to make something?

    a. exemplary
    b. instrumental
    c. formal

 6. The sculptor makes a sculpture. What kind of cause is he?

    a. exemplary
    b. instrumental
    c. efficient






  3. The final cause

   It is what agent is determined to act for, i.e., the reason why they act. For instance: carpenter makes a table to earn money.

   Every agent acts moved by an end. Every free and not free being moves to achieve a goal, because on the contrary they would not act. The immediate goal of not free beings is the perfection of their species.

    The first cause of them all is the purpose and it is necessary for all other kind of causality to be. If agent has not a goal, there will not be efficient cause, and if agent does not act there is no way from potentiality (material cause) to actuality (formal cause). The purpose is the cause of causes. It is the last you achieve in realization and the first in intention.

  C. Choose the right letter: a, b, c.

  1. The motive you act for is the cause:

    a. material
    b. formal
    c. final

  2. Carpenter makes tables to earn money. Who is carpenter?

    a. agent
    b. final cause
    c. material cause

 3. What kind of cause is to earn money?

    a. formal
    b. final
    c. material

 4. Not free beings act for:

    a. perfecting their species
    b. getting reach
    c. being famous

 5. What is necessary for other causes to be?

    a. material cause
    b. formal cause
    c. final cause

 6. What kind of cause is the first one in intention?

    a. material
    b. final
    c. formal

  4. Consequences

   It is the person itself who acquires inside their education. Others, such as teachers, parents, Internet, can assist the concerned, but the main agent of their formation is the own person.

  The final cause is the ideal of education, the perfection of man. It consists of giving the body and the soul all possible perfection to achieve their natural destiny and show the way to their supernatural goal.




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| Educational applications | Philosophy |
For young |In Spanish | To print |

®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
Plaza Playa de Aro, 3, 1º DO 44002-TERUEL